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Alesana - The Emptiness Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8.75
Lyrics 6.5
Production 5.5
Creativity 4
Lasting Value 2
Reviewer Tilt 3.75
Final Verdict: 55%
Member Ratings
Vocals 5.78
Musicianship 5.81
Lyrics 5.28
Production 5.88
Creativity 5.44
Lasting Value 5.06
Reviewer Tilt 5.19
Average: 55%
Inside AP.net

Alesana - The Emptiness

Reviewed by: flks511 (01/21/10)
Alesana - The Emptiness
Record Label: Fearless
Release Date: January 26, 2010

Alesana has always been a band hated universally amongst critics and AP.net users alike. Whether it be for the pitches of the vocalists' voices, or for the band's scene image, Alesana is mercilessly trashed and criticized. In my opinion, the hate for the band has been undeserved. The six-piece post-hardcore band from North Carolina have always had talent that is overlooked by critics. The trio of guitarists (Shawn Milke, Patrick Thompson, and the newly added Jake Campbell) have a tendency towards well thought-out and intricate guitar arrangements, as well as the rhythm section of the band being solid as well. Milke's high-pitched tenor voice is always criticized as whiny and unpleasant, despite his capabilities as a fantastic vocalist with an extensive range.

But truth be told, Alesana were never about the musicianship or the lyrics. Alesana were about the energy, the excitement, the spontaneity. Their past two efforts, On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax and Where Myth Fades to Legend were albums built around the idea of organized chaos. Milke's smooth, polished melodies were contrasted much by the tumultuous screams of frontman Dennis Lee, bassist Shane Crump, and then-guitarist Huck Ferguson. Chugga-style breakdowns were rare and song structure was varied and interesting.

With their third album, The Emptiness, Alesana has abandoned the unrestrained, passionate atmosphere of their past albums, attempting to replace it with a more mature, more critically acceptable album. With Ferguson gone and Crump discontinuing his role as a vocalist, Lee and Milke are left to front the band by themselves. The absence of the layered vocals is immediately noticeable, and it definitely leaves a void in the music. Without the other vocalists, the songs are much more traditionally structured and monotonous. Technically, the new sound is more developed and acceptable by members of this little website, but the layered screams and trippy guitar parts have always been the main appeal of Alesana.

Even more noticeable, Lee's vocal responsibilities have also been cut back considerably. In efforts to write a conceptually-based record about the consternation felt after the death of a lover ("The Emptiness will haunt you"), Milke sets the mood of the album by writing dark harmonies and ominous melodies. Lee's screams are pushed back to obscure parts of songs and into the background for an eerie effect. This wouldn't be a bad thing if it weren't for the reason stated in the paragraph above, and if Lee played an instrument. Once the absolute frontman for the band, Lee has now left me wondering what exactly he will be doing onstage in support of this album.

So what is the result of these drastic changes the band has made? Well, Alesana have created (and I'm sure many will agree with me on this) an incredibly, immeasureably average album. Technically sound, but forgettable. The album opens with a whisper introducing the plotline before launching into a poppy, harmonized guitar part. The majority of the song is generic and unexciting, with the exception of the nicely crafted pre-chorus scream of "I'll never be able to sleep again." The following two songs, "The Artist" and "A Lunatic's Lament" are both crafted decently, with great melodies filling both of them. But both are so monotonous I can't imagine them having much lasting power.

This is a common theme throughout the album; monotony, that is. The production on this album has music flowing from one track to another, and almost every song has some sort of short interlude for the "storyteller" Adam Fisher. This would be a good idea for an album with a diverse range of songs, but on The Emptiness, the only thing this accomplishes is making it difficult to distinguish one track from another. Although they are rare, the album has its bright spots. Ironically, these spots are the parts that are reminiscent of the band's more riotous music of the past, such as the screamed bridge of "The Murderer" ("Are you ready to die?") or the opening of "The Thespian." Unfortunately these moments do not even come close to saving this album, despite how much I would like them to.

The lyrics are nothing special as usual, but they are in fact the best the band has written. Milke has shown growth as a vocalist, on occasion singing with a raspy effect. The band has also included their first ever guitar solos that they've recorded. But there is something missing, and that something is the spirit that the band showed during their first efforts. It's interesting how Alesana's most mature album turns out to be the least enjoyable album in their catalogue. The one thing I hope comes from this album is that the band's music is finally considered "acceptable" in this judgmental scene.

Recommended If You LikeA Skylit Drive; newer Emarosa; older Escape the Fate; Asking Alexandria


www.myspace.com/alesana
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 36
12:46 PM on 02/04/10
#2
Rickaly
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good review. finally a fair one.
04:43 PM on 02/04/10
#3
vivatoto56
EB was left out
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Great review...My thoughts exactly.
07:09 AM on 02/05/10
#4
Bl00dbath18
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Great review...My thoughts exactly.
yea finally the staff review on here was so biase and harsh
alesana is one of the best post hardcore bands
but i wouldve given it alot higher on production vaue
it sounds way better than their last 2 cds to me
and higher on creativity for sure
the whole story behind the cd is based off the poem by edgar allan poe titles "annabel lee"
09:33 PM on 02/05/10
#5
exploration #4
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yea finally the staff review on here was so biase and harsh
alesana is one of the best post hardcore bands
but i wouldve given it alot higher on production vaue
it sounds way better than their last 2 cds to me
and higher on creativity for sure
the whole story behind the cd is based off the poem by edgar allan poe titles "annabel lee"

this isn't post-hardcore, and writing an album about sixth-grade level literature is very fitting for the sixth-grade level of this band
09:44 PM on 02/05/10
#6
flks511
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this isn't post-hardcore, and writing an album about sixth-grade level literature is very fitting for the sixth-grade level of this band
How is this not post hardcore?
12:40 AM on 02/06/10
#7
xjdizzle
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Recommended If you listen to crap! Or if you are a 16 year old that is a pussy and cant accept the fact that life isnt perfect that cant man up and get over a breakup...
04:07 AM on 02/06/10
#8
introduction
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this isn't post-hardcore, and writing an album about sixth-grade level literature is very fitting for the sixth-grade level of this band
exactly.
05:42 AM on 02/06/10
#9
Supernovacaine
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a very well thought review, that's for sure! i don't think its their best effort, definitely agree about the lack of lasting power.
10:55 AM on 02/06/10
HometownHero
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Lol at an 8 on vocals and an 8.75 on musicianship. You must be deaf. Or stupid. Or both
11:13 AM on 02/06/10
i fux i fux
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Lol at an 8 on vocals and an 8.75 on musicianship. You must be deaf. Or stupid. Or both
This.
The screamer sounds like a dying cat
11:49 AM on 02/06/10
the seventeenth
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yea finally the staff review on here was so biase and harsh
alesana is one of the best post hardcore bands
but i wouldve given it alot higher on production vaue
it sounds way better than their last 2 cds to me
and higher on creativity for sure
the whole story behind the cd is based off the poem by edgar allan poe titles "annabel lee"

You contradicted yourself: You ask for higher creativity, even though it has been said that everything is based off of a poem by Edgar Allen Poe. Great album, the creativeness that followed behind it wasn't creative at all.
01:02 PM on 02/06/10
flks511
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Lol at an 8 on vocals and an 8.75 on musicianship. You must be deaf. Or stupid. Or both
Milke is an extremely good vocalist, and while Lee's screams are considered mediocre by many, he is hardly on the album.

And Alesana are talented musicians, just, in this case, not very original.
01:38 PM on 02/06/10
Bl00dbath18
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Milke is an extremely good vocalist, and while Lee's screams are considered mediocre by many, he is hardly on the album.

And Alesana are talented musicians, just, in this case, not very original.
Lee's screams are absolutely amazing there like beer you have to have a taste for them
and there still way more original than other bands but not being original doesnt make you bad almost all the songs on the cd are catchy as hell
and the poem they based the cd on it was pretty creative to do not many bands have done that and made it into a whole concept album
02:02 PM on 02/06/10
flks511
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Lee's screams are absolutely amazing there like beer you have to have a taste for them
and there still way more original than other bands but not being original doesnt make you bad almost all the songs on the cd are catchy as hell
and the poem they based the cd on it was pretty creative to do not many bands have done that and made it into a whole concept album
None of what you just said made any sense.
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